Panama City and Beyond

As the duo went from strength to strength, one day they were offered a lucrative contract in Panama. They barely had money for the fare, so with their parents they traveled cheaply on a very battered old ship, all four sleeping on deck under canvas during a succession of heavy storms. When they finally reached the quayside of Panama City, the agent didn’t show up and they realized that they had been tricked. Bravely their father told the duo: “Never mind, my darlings, you’re on your way to success!” and happily success arrived via a lady named Juanita, a beautiful Cuban woman who promised the sisters work.
Arrival in Panama
Don Oscar, Doña Regla, Amalia and Cecilia
Las Hermanas Aguilar : Panama City
The End of the Aguilar Sisters

Although the duo enjoyed professional success playing in the cabarets of Panama City, the trip marked the end of the Aguilar Sisters duet, when Cecilia fell in love, got married and moved to the United States to live in Wichita, Kansas with her new husband.
Amalia dances Babalu at
Cabaret Florida : Panama
Sisters soon to part
Amalia and Cecilia
To Mexico with Julio

And so Amalia began to work as a solo artist. Not long after, the great dancer Julio Richards arrived in Panama. Julio was in search of a dance partner for a forthcoming tour of Mexico, he saw Amalia perform and not realizing she was the same girl he had once dismissed so roughly at Havana’s Marti Theatre, talked to her father about taking her to Mexico with him. Fortunately Don Oscar agreed, leading Amalia into a wonderful dance partnership and more importantly, taking the family to Mexico City.


At that time (1945), Mexico enjoyed a vibrant economy, with Mexico City hosting both a strong film industry (producing most of the Spanish language movies screened across the entire continent) and a vibrant nightlife, always in need of talented new performers and musicians. Faced by a demanding Mexican audience, the duo of Julio and Amalia performed well, achieving great success. Their debut was at the Teatro Lyrico alongside Roberto Soto and this was followed by appearances at the renowned Sans Sousi cabaret, which in turn lead to a fantastic contract to perform live at the XEW radio station with the big stars Pepe Guizar and Carlos Amador.
Press photo: Julio & Amalia
Amalia @ Radio XEW, Mexico City 1944
Performance : XEW Radio